Bold Philippines pawnshop heists continue

When it comes to pawnshop security, the best defense is a good offense. If you own a pawnshop, make sure you understand that it

FILE. An employee looks at the vault of a pawnshop in Barangay Damayan after robbers broke into it using an acetylene torch

is up to the you to protect your businesses. MIM Pawnshop Sills and Services always promotes being a proactive business owner. Experience teaches that it is important that a pawnshop owners learn to assess their businesses for its shortcomings

Back in 2010, we posted an article on pawnshop security when a rash of bold robberies of pawnshops were being reported on by the Philippine media. It is titled: Is your Pawnshop secure? If you are a pawnshop owner we recommend you read it. We think the article is still timely and has the basic common sense information a pawnshop owners can use to protect their businesses. For certain, the topic is still timely as you can see by the article below from Unfortunately, this trend of brash robberies still has momentum in the Philippines. This momentum is likely to continue, and possibly increase, as jewelry prices increase due to the rise of gold and silver prices.

If you, as a pawnshop owner, feel you need help to understand the security issues involved in the pawnshop business, be sure to contact MIM Pawnshop Skills and Services to set up a consultation appointment. Pawnshop management is our business and we can bring you the information you need to keep your pawnshop secure. We support a proactive approach that identifies the deficiencies before they hit your bottom line.


MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo warned local officials yesterday on the new modus operandi used by criminals in robbing jewelry shops, pawnshops and banks.

Based on the information provided by Chamber of Pawnshops of the Philippines, Robredo said local and police officials should be on alert when individuals take out leases on vacant business space beside, above, or behind an existing pawnshop, bank or jewelry shop.

He said these groups start their operations at night, especially on long weekends, by disconnecting the alarm system and security camera first then drilling through the adjoining walls to gain entry.

“After which, they will forcibly open the vault with a portable acetylene torch and cart away valuable materials such as cash and jewelry,” he added.

In case there are no vacant spaces for rent close to the establishment and if it is located near creeks or waterways, Robredo said these syndicates resort to forcible entry, underground tunneling or passing through a big drainage system along the street in front of the target establishment.

“In this case, they open the floor of the vault of the pawnshop as an entry point,” he said. Robredo called on all barangay officials, as chairpersons of the barangay peace and order committee, to immediately mobilize on a regular basis their barangay tanods for routine patrols during the night until the wee hours of the morning.

“Barangay officials should closely coordinate with and immediately report to the local police any suspicious movements or persons roaming in areas near the said establishments so that the latter can undertake more in depth surveillance and make the necessary arrests,” he said.

Is your Pawnshop Secure?

Two recent newspaper articles show what might be a coming trend in the Philippine pawnshop industry. That trend is very bold pawnshop robberies which thieves net a large amount loot. As gold and silver prices are at an approximate ten-year high, let’s hope that this trend doesn’t take hold in the Philipines. But a pawnshop owner can’t run a business on hope. In today’s world, realistic security measures are what is called for. And if pawnshop owners aren’t ready there are thieves ready to take advantage of them.

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines: the Inquirer. net reported on December 17 2009 the story of a thieves who rented a room next door to a pawnshop and broke in through a hole they hammered through a concrete wall.

“They had been renting the place for the last four days and last night (Wednesday) they were able to execute the robbery,” …

Police said the suspects carted away some P2.2 million of assorted jewelry, P1,097,057 cash and more than P61,000 worth of gold nuggets as the establishment…has been also into gold-buying.

The robbers appeared to be professional thieves as they were able to hammer away the concrete walls of the establishment without being detected despite the presence of many people in the area, Regidor noted.

In this case, the pawns shop not only had taken no security measures but were warned by authorities that their secrity measures were inadequate.

“We have already advised twice the establishment about having proper security measures as they really lack them, but to no avail. They don’t have alarm systems, CCTVs (close-circuit televisions) as well as security guards,” Regidor said. He, however, said four other pawnshops in take town had adequate alarm and security systems.

SOLANO, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. reported on December 27, 2009 the story of theives who dug a 200 meter tunnel to gain entry to a pawnshop.

Robbers took advantage of the holidays by digging a 200-meter tunnel leading to a pawnshop at the public market here, ransacking it of cash, jewelry other valuables reportedly worth at least P1 million.

These robberies almost sound as if they come from a movie and might be entertaining if they did. Except that robberies this large can easily put a pawnshop owner out of business. If pawnshop owners want their business to survive they are going to have to be proactive about their security measures.

What can pawnshop owners do before, not after, a robbery takes place? A security risk-assessment is a good start. In a risk assessment owners should do a detailed check of  their business and see the cracks in their security. Things to include in a security risk assessment could include:

  • A check of the alarm system. Is it adequate. Motion sensors are now a cheap technolgy-use them! Should I use an alarm company.
  • Do i need cameras (closed circuit television)?
  • Is the outside lighting adequate?
  • Do I need security guards?
  • Are the windows and doors adequate?
  • Is my location adequate? Does it make sense to share walls with another establishment ?
  • Should I carry insurance? If so what kind and how much? If you do have insurance, many companies have loss-control specialists who will come out free and do a security assessment. Be sure to use that service. If your insurance company doesn’t offer a loss control specialist change companies and get one that does.
  • Should I have a vault? If so what kind.

A self-assement of security before, and not after, a break-in is good for the bottom line. Pawnshop owners have to be proactive about security. In the case of the Tagum City pawnshop owner who had little security and was warned of this by authorities, the owner might have just as well put a sign on the establishment that said “come in and rob me risk free.” Don’t let that be you.